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Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Kaneohe escapee returns to facility

Andrion had been
missing since Monday

By Gary Kubota and Harold Morse

The manhunt for an escaped Hawaii State Hospital patient ended when he returned to the Kaneohe facility today, police said.

Benjamin C. Andrion,43, has been at the hospital for most of the last 20-years after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the stabbing death of his mother and stabbing of other family members.

Andrion, 43, was last seen running from the Kaneohe facility toward Kahekili Highway at about 9 a.m. Monday.

Janice Okubo, the state Health Department spokeswoman, would not give any further details of his return nor would she confirm Andrion's return citing patient confidentiality laws.

Yesterday Okubo said she the hospital also could not comment about how Andrion got out of the facility.

"They are not criminals. They are patients. We do have to protect their civil rights," she said.

Before her brother's capture today, Rosita Ramos, 45, worried about the safety of her family. In March of 1980,. Andrion fatally stabber their mother and wounded Ramos, her father Damasco and her 17-month-old son Christopher in their home on Maui.

"I don't think he's going to hurt us, but the problem is if he's not taking his medication. I'm worried about him," Ramos said.

Ramos said Andrion is usually a "good person" and was not in his right state of mind when he killed their mother.

Her father, Damasco, is retired and lives in the Philippines. But her son Christopher and his wife and granddaughter live with her. The family no longer lives in the Kahului house where the attacks took place.

Ramos said Andrion has been to their new house in Kihei. She said Andrion occasionally received passes from the state hospital that allowed him to visit the family on Maui.

She said his last visit was about five years ago. She picked him up at the Kahului Airport on a Friday, and he left for Oahu that Sunday. "He got along with my son and nephews," she said.

Ramos said she last talked with Andrion about three years ago, and there was no hostility expressed against her or her family.

"He told us that he's bored and he'd like to come to Maui and stay on Maui, and I told him it's better for him not to come to Maui because of that incident and I don't want him to be reminded all the time,'' she said.

Andrion reportedly was released to a Windward Oahu transitional program in 1997 and to a group home last year.

But last year, he was recommitted to the State Hospital at his request after he allegedly missed appointments, failed to pickup his medication and got drunk.

In 1980, a judge acquitted Andrion in the stabbing of his mother and the attempted murder charges by reason of insanity.

Andrion was said to have schizophrenia and was unable to tell right from wrong.

He was then committed to the State Hospital for treatment.

The then-23-year-old Andrion had been taken to the psychiatric ward at Maui Memorial Hospital three times over the previous four months before the stabbings.

He was admitted as a voluntary patient. But each time he left after one or two days.

A Maui psychiatrist said shortly after the stabbings, which occurred in the Andrion home in Kahului, that he had examined Andrion earlier but had been unable to foresee the later violence or determine imminent danger.

Also, Andrion was committed for examination to the State Hospital at Kaneohe the month before the stabbings in Kahului, following Andrion's alleged shoplifting.

He was released after four weeks on March 20, 1980.

Reporter Jaymes K. Song also contributed to this story.

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